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3:10 to Yuma


Stars: Russell Crowe, Christian Bale, Ben Foster, Gretchen Mol, Peter Fonda, Logan Lerman, Alan Tudyk, Dallas Roberts

Director: James Mangold

There are some exciting scenes in this remake of the 1957 western classic, but the story has also been opened out and not to the film's advantage. The ending too has been changed - it's one of those movies that seem to be about to end a couple of times before they do - and not for the better.

So there's an anti-climactic feel now to the finale, as penniless farmer Dan Evans (Bale), who has lost a leg in the Civil War, becomes the only surviving member of a posse as he fights to get notorious outlaw Ben Wade (Crowe) on the eponymous train that will take him to justice.

As in the original, Wade is captured through dallying too long with a local barmaid (Vinessa Shaw), but in this version he's then taken on a long trek through dangerous territory towards the railway depot where the action climaxes. This adds about 30 minutes to the running time and undercuts the spare tension that ran through the Glenn Ford/Van Heflin film from 50 years ago.

Then there's the nagging feeling that the leading roles might have been better cast the other way round. That said, Crowe does invest his killer with some charm, while keeping you aware of his dangerous edge - even if his actions at the end are pretty inexplicable. And there are some well made chase and shoot-out sequences, shot on the run, that will thrill action fans, although one of the bad guys seems to have at least three death scenes.

If you haven't seen the original, in fact, the chances are that you'll enjoy the best bits of this one. You might not like that ending though.

David Quinlan

USA 2007. UK Distributor: Lionsgate. Colour by FotoKem.
117 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 09 Sep 2007